Which Bible translations do you read and why?


I became a Christian just before my 17 birthday, and my first experience of the bible was with the NIV in a baptist church.  Then 3 years later I moved in a Vineyard Church, where the NIV was de rigueur and known as 'Necessary In Vineyard'.

Then more recently, my bibles of choice have been the TNIV, and Message.  The message for relaxing and having fun, the TNIV for my study and teaching.  Biblegateway is close to hand for reviewing other bible translations, and I have sundry hard copy translations of the Bible on my bookshelf.  But day to day, it's the TNIV and Message I've been using.

But recently I've been restless, and wanting something more from my translations.  I thought it time I reviewed bible translations in general, how they were put together, and approaches to translations.  In that search I found some great resources, and would recommend Ben Witherington's book, and online video explanation of bible translations.

I came out of that process and having tried some other translations, landing on something that I hadn't expected going into it.  I've gotten a taste for the ESV translation.  I'd expected the conservative background to the translation, and gender inclusive issues to be a barrier.  But it's become my bible of choice for my own devotions, and I've been trying to figure out why?

I've realised that the TNIV had become a little, well, bland.  I do think the TNIV to be one of the best approaches to translation (see Witherington), but it's as if someone took all the work out of the text.  It's one of the problems of dynamic equivalence that the TNIV moves towards.

The ESV as a more literal translation seems to be a harder read, but more prosaic, coloured, and nuanced, and with more character.  Now given my concerns for gender inclusive language perhaps I should be exploring the NRSV.  However trying to get a thinline NRSV with a concordance seems almost impossible in the UKw, and I do want a concordance in my bible.

And in all this I am reminded that with online bibles and multiple translations how privileged I am to have access to all these translations.  And the most important issue remains not consuming translations but the inhabiting of scripture as a way of life.

So what's your translation journey, and what related resources are you aware of?